Does Everybody Have a Double?


Brunelle has traveled in North America and Europe to meet and photograph look-alikes. Sometimes the doubles meet each other for the first time in his studio. "They come in, they open the door and there is an expression of uncertainty in their face. They're not sure they're doing the right thing."

Even if the resemblance to your double is flattering, Brunelle says, it can trigger a little earthquake in your ego. Your sense of identity is shaken. Some people contacted by Brunelle have refused to be photographed when they learn they have a double.

"I think they say no because they don't want to be facing another person that's like them," said Brunelle. "For them it's too much to ask."

It's also common for look-alikes not to believe they resemble each other.

Brunelle is more than halfway toward a hoped-for portfolio of 200 photographs which he plans to display in an exhibition and publish in a book.

Brunelle said many people have told him he has his own double: the actor Rowan Atkinson, famous for his role as Mr. Bean in a British television comedy.

Part of Brunelle's fascination with look-alikes lies in the contemplation of them, in the studying and contrasting the faces to tell them apart. He believes that viewers then focus all the more carefully on the patterns and details of human faces to find the uniqueness in each.

"Because these people are not the same," Brunelle said. "They were raised in different countries, sometimes -- different families, different religions, different backgrounds, different everything, and yet they look the same. I'm playing with reality in my own little way."

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